Election Day Myths Cleared Up By Secretary of State

by Eileen Jones - bio | email

3,010,000 Alabamians are expected to hit the polls on election day - Tuesday. Dealing with that many people can be tricky and the Secretary of State says expect to stand in line unless you go mid-morning or mid-afternoon.

All sort of misinformation is being circulated about voting and the Secretary of State, Beth Chapman, is trying to clear them all up. First of all, yes - you can wear a candidate's button or T-shirt in to vote but you can only campaign for that person 30 feet away.

Another myth, Chapman says, has to do with the 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM voting hours. "A lot of times people will give up and start there (and) there will be an accident on the road. It's ten till. They'll just turn around and go home. Get to the polling place by 7:00 and if you are in that line at 7:00 o'clock or in that polling place at 7:00 o'clock you will be allowed your right to vote."

Yet, another myth is if there is an emergency and you can't get to the polling place you can't vote. Chapman says "One doctor called me and said how do I help my patient vote because we do have that 24 hour emergency vote available?"

It's an involved process but it can be done once the paperwork is signed. "I was very proud a doctor called. She was so concerned and the gentleman is also an amputee and she said even if I get to release him by Monday I do not want this man out in public catching anything at this point," says Chapman.

And, because a lot of the 3,010,000 who are registered so far will be first time voters remember you must have an I-D but in Alabama it's not true that you have to have a photo I-D, and you can vote a straight ticket. Chapman says, "The myth that's out there that we want to dispel is, if you vote all democrat ticket there's a rumor out there that says that will not cover Senator Obama. Of course, it will. This has never changed. ...We've always done it this way. So, if you mark straight Republican and do not mark Senator McCain, it will cover him."

And, if you do vote a straight ticket and decide there is one person from the other party you want to vote for, you can do that too and it will be recorded.

The Secretary of State's hot line is 1-800-274-VOTE and there's a link on our web page if you need to know where to go and vote.

WSFA 12 News is your source for the latest election day news. We'll have live reports all day and extensive coverage starting Tuesday night.